Osun Elections will be the best ever, Jega vows
Basking in the success of recent Ekiti State polls, Professor Attahiru Jega, the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC on Wednesday promised to make the 9 August Osun state gubernatorial election the best ever to be conducted in Nigeria.
Jega who said this while giving his opening speech at an experience sharing dialogue with media professionals said the commission hopes to make the Osun polls “the best election to be conducted in the country and much, much better than the Ekiti election.”
He also said the success of Ekiti election was the outcome of various reforms process the Commission has implemented to reform its processes since the conclusion of 2011 general elections.
According to the INEC Chairman, the reforms include cleaning up of the voters register and the introduction of Permanent Voters’ Cards, launch and implementation of a strategic plans to ensure qualitative elections in 2015, restructuring of INEC and training and retraining of permanent and ad hoc staffs.
He said with the reforms, INEC has done a lot to improve operational matters and logistics for conduct of elections and distribution of electoral materials. Jega noted that though some of the reforms were implemented in the Anambra election, the mix up in the distribution of election materials which resulted in a lot of hullabaloo did not allow the public to appreciate them.
But the INEC Chairman said many of the reforms became evident and contributed to making the election the best yet to be conducted by the Commission.
Jega listed the specific factors that contributed to the success of Ekiti election to include early preparation, extensive training of the ad hoc staff, with members of NYSC used for the election trained for seven weeks, efficient and early deployment of electoral materials through a decentralisation system which ensured that 95 per cent of polling units opened by 8 am and increased stakeholders’ engagement.
He also said contrary to the claims of some stakeholders, large scale deployment of men of security agencies played significant roles in the success of the election.
The Chairman of INEC also said contrary to claims in some quarters, the Commission did colour coding of the ballot papers while result sheets were also customised to specific polling booths.
Jega said the Commission is already replicating everything it did in Ekiti in Osun to make the State 9 August election a success.
He however acknowledged the fact with 30 Local Governments, compared to Ekiti 16, Osun will be a bigger challenge in terms of size and complexity for the Commission.
The INEC Chairman said the Commission has recognised this and is factoring it into its plans. Jega added that part of the arrangements to make the Osun State credible was the the replacement of the Resident Electoral Commissioner.
He said the former Osun REC has done nothing wrong and the allegations against him cannot be proven, the Commission has to replace him to lessen complaints that may affect the credibility of the elections. Jega described the replacement of the REC as painful.
“Everything is on course to have free and fair elections in Osun State on August 9,” Jega who said the Commission is also doing its best to ensure that the 2015 elections is successful said while calling of politicians and the media to cooperate with Commission to make this happen.
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